5 leaders share advice for a public procurement career

In honour of public procurement month, we’ve gathered insight from top procurement professionals on their best advice for a career in public procurement, as shared in previous webinars and blogs. Browse these quotes for motivation and perspective as you chart your own procurement career path.

 

Collaboration is key in procurement

Internal customer satisfaction was rated as the most important measure of success by public sector CPOs in Deloitte’s 2018 survey. Understanding stakeholder goals and providing value through change management and project management is a crucial part of the job—but not always the easiest part. Here are two perspectives on the importance of taking a customer-centric approach:

“For me it’s about serving. I am serving these different departments to help the municipality do the best it can. Going into it with a servant heart and getting to know all the different operations within the municipality — if you don’t have a passion or desire for that, it’s probably going to be a hard job. But if you like being involved and supporting, then it is going to be a great thing to come to work every day.”

  • Travis Ratsoy, Procurement and Assurance Coordinator, Town of Stony Plain

Be willing to talk to people, understand their viewpoint, get out of your office and meet people face to face.

Conflict and difficult conversations happen

At the end of the day, procurement professionals can’t say ‘yes’ to every request, nor will their decisions please all parties. These two pieces of advice will serve you well in your procurement career to ensure conflicts resolve with a productive solution:

What I have kept in the back of my mind, in my experiences throughout 18 years of service, is that the vast majority of people that are in public service are good people who are trying to do the right thing. We may argue about the way in which we get things done. But in general, no matter what side of the aisle you may be on, everybody is trying to do the right thing.

We can’t look at our functions through the lens of a critic, thinking that people have the worst intentions. We have to put policies in place to prevent those things, but not at the expense of those that are trying to do the right thing. I keep that in mind every day of my work.

Don’t take anything personally. During negotiations or difficult parts of the processes, remember it’s not about you. Focus on the process. In the legal field, a lot of things are very adversarial, but procurement is not like that. You’re working towards a mutually beneficial agreement. In the end, you want to be on the same page.

Procurement has an organization-wide impact

The speed and effectiveness of the procurement process has a big impact on your organization’s ability to meet their goals. Here’s some inspiration to help other teams own their impact:

It’s important to remember that procurement influences the profitability of every area of the organization. We have direct influence over the business operations, and we need to capitalize on our expertise. Procurement is known for staying in the shadows — we need to self-promote a little bit and make sure people know how important our function is. You only do that by being willing to take some risks.

Tracey Ens, Director, Procurement Services, Wilfrid Laurier University

More advice to advance your procurement career

When it comes to your procurement career, you are in the driver’s seat. However, it can be an uphill battle to get the resources and tools you need to thrive, whether that’s funding to attend a conference or a new software to cut down on paperwork.

Our upcoming webinar will help you make the case to your management for tools and resources to enhance your process. Special guest Paul Brennan, founder of ProcurePath and Director of Purchasing for County of Rockland, will provide advice from 25 years as an educator and practitioner, to help procurement teams successfully advocate for the support they need to advance their careers and the profession.

Webinar: Invest in your procurement function for better outcomes organization-wide

Offered in partnership with American City and County

March 21, 2 pm

Register Procurement Webinar